A few weeks ago I came across a picture book I just had to read, and feature as Book of the Week. If you are a frequent visitor/reader than you’ll remember my Book of the Week post featuring Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace.
Author Anne Marie Pace hasn’t only created a frightfully fun book, she’s also taken time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions!
BookBandit (BB): Can you tell me a little about yourself, and about your path as a writer?
Anne Marie Pace (AMP): I’ve been reading and writing as long as I can remember. My mom says my first words were “please read,” and I still have scads of folders of stories I wrote or outlined as a child. Books have always been important to me, and I continue to surround myself with words. I began writing for publication about ten years ago, writing for children’s magazines and educational publishers, and I’ve now published three picture books, with several more on the way.
BB: I’ve heard it been said before that writing a picture book is hard work? In your opinion as an author, what makes it so?
AMP: Writing anything well is going to be hard work. Picture books are said to be hard, I suppose, because you have to fit all the story elements into a very short space, often less than 500 words. You need a unique character, a compelling plot, and fun language, and it has to make sense and carry meaning to a fairly young audience. That said, I think writing novels is harder because you have to keep 30,000 to 100,000 words in your head, with their multiple layers and threads and plotlines and subplots and major and minor characters, each with their own story–it boggles me! I can spread a three-page picture book manuscript in front of me and see it in its entirety.
BB: I love Vampirina. I love even more that she’s a “traditional” vampire. Why did you choose to keep to a vampire’s traditional traits as opposed to creating something new?
AMP: You’re the first person to ask this, and honestly, I’d have to say it never occurred to me to create something new. The book began with the premise that a vampire learning ballet would certain difficulties simply because she is a vampire. Both the conflict and the humor derive from that clash between conventions. Note that all of Vampirina’s glittery sparkle comes from her dancer-side, not her vampire side.
BB: After reading I feel like readers (of all ages) can find a little bit of themselves hidden within Vampirina. Do you see any of yourself in her?
AMP: I would think most of us can relate to the frustration of trying something new and the sadness of feeling left out of something important.
BB: A big part of your book is ballet – the hard work and dedication. Have you ever taken ballet?
AMP: I was not a very good ballet student. I think I had five or six lessons before my mother pulled me out. I did take Irish dancing, which was tremendous fun. And my three daughters all had several years of ballet, so I’m pretty experienced with making ballet buns and filming dance recitals.
BB: Will we readers and fans get to see more of little Vampirina?
AMP: Well, now that Vampirina has a new group of best friends, she’d like to have them over to visit the castle! VAMPIRINA HOSTS A SLEEPOVER will be published by Disney-Hyperion in the summer of 2013. Wait until you see what LeUyen Pham has come up with this time!
BB: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with all the aspiring writers out there?
AMP: As Vampirina would say, “Practice! Practice! Practice!”
I just want to say THANK YOU! to author Anne Marie Pace!
For more information about Anne Marie Pace and her fang-tastic book Vampirina Ballerina check out her website here!